Nobody ever said living with MS was going to be easy, least of all me. To be perfectly candid, MS has been an unwelcome fellow traveller, an intrusion in my life for almost 40 years after entering, seizing, and taking possession of my body without my consent.
This unwanted trespasser has literally made my monogamous marriage of 30 years feel like a miserable ménage à trois from hell! I did not agree to unhappily cohabit together with MS and with no word of a lie, if this relationship was a marriage, with or without a restraining order, then we would have separated years ago.
Unfortunately, though, citing irreconcilable differences as grounds for divorce does not cut it because MS does not do farewells. So given the cards the illness has dealt me, instead of being angry about something I cannot beat, against a disease without a cure, I have resolved my position and now have an understanding with MS. Finally we have a relationship which I think is working.
There is little point in railing against a myriad of symptoms like fatigue, walking difficulties, vision problems, bladder issues and all the rest too numerous to mention. Life is too short to be an MS Warrior, whatever that means. I go with the MS flow which is not to be confused with giving up or giving in. I simply abide by the changing limitations on what I can and cannot do.
I am a sexagenarian; A 61-year-old man who, with or without carrying an MS monkey on my back, cannot possibly do what I could a decade ago. Physically my legs are 10 years weaker, and if I was MS-free then my prostate might be susceptible to a stuttering bladder, as my eyes would be becoming vulnerable to cataracts. This is the ageing process which is as mean to non MSers as MS is to, well, MSers.
Recently a new symptom courtesy of MS means my legs suddenly seize up like an ungreased component in an engine making the mechanism – my legs – shut down while out walking with my wife/carer. But such is my need to make the relationship with MS work I refuse to expend time and energy thinking this is the worst thing ever to happen to me. It is not.
In fact, the worst thing that ever happened to me, as I remember it, was the first time I began to lose my centre of gravity. Or was it the first time I became fatigued? Or was it the first time the left-hand side of my body went numb? Or was it when I began to slur my words or when my skin began to tingle?
I see no point in trying to battle against something that has me by the throat. It makes for a calmer time living with MS and I no longer see myself as a victim of circumstance. As Covid has shown, there are others worse off which is why my relationship with MS, my attitude towards it, will not let me fail because of it.
Previously a writer of comedy and satire for stage, radio and satirical clubs,
Martin was contracted to write a musical for the Westend and Broadway
inspired by his best-selling book, “To Be Or Not To Be, Innit, a Yoof-Speak
Guide to Shakespeare”.
After several MS relapses which curtailed his writing career for several years,
Martin has successfully rebuilt his life as a Multiple Sclerosis Blogger and
Instagram: @martinhbaum @serenityonsea